Arbor Day

Arbor Day

J. Sterling Morton, a settler in the NebraskaTerritory, understood the need to plant trees on the prairie which was being turned into farmland. Trees provided shade, logs for the fire, lumber for buildings, and windbreaks.

First Arbor Day Celebrated in Nebraska

Morton planted orchards and shade trees on his farm. He asked his neighbors to plant trees on their property, too.

Then Morton had a great idea. He wanted a special day devoted to planting trees. On April 10, 1872, America’s first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska. Over one million trees were planted.

Annual Holiday in Nebraska

In 1885, Nebraska made Arbor Day an annual event.

Celebrated by All Fifty States

People plant trees on Arbor Day. All fifty states celebrate Arbor Day, but on different dates. The planting and growing season isn’t the same for all states. For example, in Alabama it is celebrated the last full week of February. The third Monday in May is Arbor Day in Alaska.

National Arbor Day

National Arbor Day became the last Friday in April when President Richard Nixon declared it in 1970.

Today, many people plant a tree on Arbor Day. With permission, children may plant them in schoolyards, around public buildings, or in their yards at home.


– Sandra Merville Hart



Greif, Martin. The Holiday Book: America’s Festivals and Celebrations. The Main   Street Press, 1978.

“Arbor Day.” 18 March 2013.

“State Arbor Days.” 18 March 2013.


  1. Meg
    Apr 7, 2013

    This is cute! I’m in love with this whole site. I’m going to teach this little lesson to Brodey and weather permitting, we are going to plant a tree!

    • Sandy Hart
      Apr 7, 2013

      That’s awesome, Meg! I’m glad you enjoyed the website and the article. How wonderful it is to hear you plan to plant a tree – have fun!

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